Domestic violence reports increased by more than 30 percent in the city of Gloversville last year, adding to jumps in assault, theft and drunken driving that made for a busy 2012 for police.
City Police Chief Donald W. VanDeusen said details in his year-end report for 2012 also indicate success in a new department philosophy that’s bringing officers closer to citizens in the city of about 15,600.
“There’s a good chance, if you’re on the street in Gloversville, you may have interaction with a police officer,” he said.
At a glance
The number of crimes reported to Gloversville police in 2012 and 2011 and the percentage change between the two years:
Assault: 48, 41, +17%
Burglary: 133, 171, -22%
Domestic violence: 1,391, 1,058, +31%
Larceny: 556, 501, +11%
Traffic stops: 1,422, 607, +134%
Traffic tickets: 1,118, 589, +90%
Parking tickets: 1,115, 898, +24%
DWI/DWAI: 38, 29, +31%
Criminal mischief: 341, 431, -21%
Total calls: 13,386, 12,085, +11%
Arrests: 1,273, 811, +57%
Source: Gloversville Police Department
Police are making contact with residents on a regular basis, and patrol cars are becoming more visible, as well.
“We’re trying to be community-oriented,” said VanDeusen, who was promoted to chief in May following the retirement of Edgar Beaudin.
Increased visibility may be behind a 21 percent drop in criminal mischief cases and a 22 percent decrease in reports of burglaries.
VanDeusen said police officers are casually meeting with residents on the streets to conduct field interviews, gather intelligence and just “see what’s going on.” Some residents may get defensive about it, but others don’t.
“There’s also a segment of those people who are going to embrace that and not only be happy but offering information, suggestions, anything that might help us do our job better,” the chief said.
One pronounced change in statistics for 2012 is the number of traffic stops — 1,422 — an increase of 134 percent over 2011’s total of 607.
These stops yielded 1,118 traffic tickets, compared with 589 in 2011, an increase of 90 percent. There also was an increase, though smaller, in the number of intoxicated or impaired drivers arrested.
“A lot of it is generated by our initiative, more self-initiated activity,” VanDeusen said.
Overall, the number of arrests went up 57 percent, from 811 in 2011 to 1,273 in 2012.
Domestic violence cases, which take place beyond the street-level view of officers, are climbing, VanDeusen said. Officers responded to 1,391 such calls in 2012, an increase of 31 percent from 1,058 in 2011.
Those cases make for difficult investigations, and there’s little time for future follow-up, if police were to make an effort to help families and couples smooth out their relationships.
VanDeusen said the only time he remembers police playing a more important role in stemming domestic violence cases is when the city received a grant from the state years ago. The program provided funding so police could reach out when tempers were no longer flaring.
“That program allowed us to go back and to revisit these individuals at a time when emotions aren’t as high,” he said.
Officers back then were able to point people to counseling and other available services.
“I think more people took advantage of those services then,” VanDeusen said.
The department hired three officers in 2012 — Michael Shang, Bradley Schaffer and Jillian Faville — bringing the department up to full strength with 30 members.